Does THC Percentage Really Matter?

Learn why higher percentage of THC doesn't necessarily mean better quality buds or stronger high. Find out why using percentage as an indicator of potency or strength isn't accurate.

Does THC Percentage Really Matter?

One of the most common misconceptions about marijuana is that a higher THC content means better quality buds and a stronger high. However, the truth is that the percentage of THC has nothing to do with the quality of the herb and is also a poor indicator of potency. THC does not work like many other psychoactive substances, and a higher level of THC does not necessarily lead to a higher level of deterioration. Studies have shown that people who consumed cannabis strains with a low THC content had the same level of deterioration as those who used cannabis strains with a higher THC content.

The percentage of THC is often used as an indicator of potency or strength, but all you have to do is take the percentage of THC, move the decimal one point to the right and you will know the total dose of THC per gram of dry herb. As consumers have focused on the percentage of THC, specifically on the amount of THC in the flower, the industry has become stuck in a cycle of producing flowers with high THC content since that is what sells. Ideally, it should be less than 10%, since there is no good research on concentrations higher than this for any medical condition and there is significant literature on the negative effects of high-potency THC. Using THC percentages as a price reference allows dispensaries to charge more for cannabis flowers and concentrates with a high THC content.

A study on prenatal cannabis exposure in rats found that rats exposed to THC showed a shorter latency until the first active lever pressure to obtain heroin and sought more heroin during mild stress and drug extinction than animals not exposed to THC. This means that THC is not a good indicator of a strain's ability to offer the benefits its users seek. In this case, consumers can break down a 10 mg THC candy into quarters (2.5 mg pieces of THC) or even eighths (pieces of 1.25 mg THC) to microdose it. There is no research to indicate that this level of THC is beneficial for any medical condition.

For example, limonene, a terpene common in citrus fruits, can counteract the effects of THC if it gets too high. Many people who voted for legalization thought they were talking about marijuana from the 1960s to the 1980s, when the THC content was less than 2%. The amount of THC doesn't really matter when all is said and done, because it isn't solely responsible for creating the experience.